Prayer Focus Update April 2023

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I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Ephesians 3:16-17a

China – Uyghur Christian convert released after 15-year sentence

Uyghur house church pastor Alimujiang Yimiti (Alim) has been released after 15 years’ imprisonment. Sources confirm that Alim is home with his family.

Alim, a convert to Christianity from Islam, served as a pastor in Kashgar, Xinjiang province, until his arrest in 2008 for alleged anti-state activities. He was subjected to two trials in secret, with his family prohibited from attending, and finally sentenced in August 2009.

Give thanks for Alim’s release after the long years spent in captivity. Pray that Alim will experience recovery as he re-adjusts to family life and restoration for the years apart from his wife and two sons (Joel 2:25). Ask that Alim, and other Christians still suffering imprisonment in China, will know a profound sense of calling and the assurance that God will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish them (1 Peter 5:10).



Pakistan – Christian woman suffers acid attack; Barnabas builds first 50 homes for Christian families left destitute by floods

Sunita Munawar, 19, a young Pakistani Christian woman, received hospital treatment after a Muslim man, Kamran Allah Bux, threw acid on her while she was getting off a bus in Karachi, Sindh province, on 1 February.

Sunita was treated for burns to her face, right hand and right ankle. Kamran admitted his crime, saying that he threw acid at Sunita for rejecting his proposal that she convert to Islam and marry him. Sunita’s family had previously complained to police about Kamran’s unwanted advances but had been ignored.

Also in Sindh, fifty Christian families were full of joy after being given new homes in the first phase of a Barnabas-funded building project.

The families, left homeless by floods, received new one-room shelters. The shelters were built using brick pillars between the mud walls, and iron girders supporting a mud roof lined with plastic sheeting. These measures make the buildings more resilient to future flooding than the old houses that were destroyed by the floodwaters.

“My whole family is happy and thanks Barnabas Aid for their wonderful effort which led us to a happier life,” exclaimed Christian farmer Lalji, who has not been able to find work since the latest floods to support his wife Nama and their two sons Bhagchand, 5, and Kanji, 12.

Work is due to begin shortly on the second phase of the building project.

Pray that Sunita will experience spiritual, emotional and physical healing and that justice will be administered to act as a deterrent against harassment of Christian girls and women in Pakistan. Praise God for the work and dedication of our project partners who oversaw the construction of the 50 homes. Give thanks that God hears and answers prayers (1 John 5:14-15) through the generosity of Barnabas supporters’ gifts. Pray that the second phase of the home building project will progress smoothly.



Nigeria – Pastor and two sons killed in Plateau State

Militant Islamist Fulani herdsmen are suspected of carrying out an attack late on the evening of 4 March, in which Pastor Musa Hyok and his two sons Emmanuel and Mang were killed in Plateau State.

The pastor’s wife escaped unhurt when gunmen launched the assault in Ganawuri community of Riyom Local Government Area. Residents claimed the family was targeted in reprisal for the deaths days earlier of three Fulani youths following a dispute over a stolen motorcycle. The pastor and his family were not involved in and had no knowledge of the incident.

Call on the Lord to comfort the pastor’s widow and family and meet them in their grief. Pray that his congregation will draw strength from the Lord and listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd (John 10:16) as they adjust to their loss. Ask that leadership skills within the church will be developed to fill the void left by Pastor Musa.



Laos – Fifteen Christian families expelled from village

Fifteen Christian families have been driven out of their home village in rural north-western Laos. The families were expelled after their conversion to Christianity and have been left with no place to stay.

The authorities have attempted to negotiate with the village leadership in order to allow the families to return to their homes, but, at the time of writing, they have had no success.

Laos’ Law on the Evangelical Church, introduced in December 2019, gives Christians the right to conduct services and preach throughout the country, and to maintain contacts with believers abroad. Locally, however, Christians are often subjected to harassment and violence, especially in rural areas, while the government imposes onerous registration requirements on churches.

This incident follows previous evictions of Christians in Laos. In March 2022 a Christian family of 12 were driven from their home in Savannakhet province because of their faith, and pressured to remove social media posts describing their ordeal (see Prayer Focus Update, April 2022).

Pray for a resolution that will allow our brothers and sisters to return to their homes, and for local and regional authorities to enforce the Law on the Evangelical Church. Ask the Lord to enable those expelled to remain joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12), and that their conduct will serve as a witness of Christ.



Myanmar – Military government forces Christians to register church attendees in Chin State

Prayers are urgently required for Christians in Myanmar’s Chin State after the military government increased restrictions on religious gatherings.

On 13 February military authorities in Chin State announced the requirement for Christians to seek permission for holding Sunday services seven days in advance. The authorities also require churches to submit the names of church ministers, lists of those attending services, and phone numbers of churchgoers.

Lift up Christians in Chin State to the Lord and pray that they will not be hindered from meeting together. Ask that the restrictions will be lifted, and that any human attempts to control God’s work will be brought to naught. Pray for increasing confidence in Christians in Chin State, and elsewhere in Myanmar, in God’s sovereignty over whatever repressive measures man may introduce (1 Chronicles 29:11-12), and a strengthening in their spirit as they gather together.



Haiti – Church minister escapes captivity but three worshippers still held

Church minister Antoine Macaire Christian Noah, 33, originally from Cameroon, escaped unharmed from a criminal gang that had kidnapped him in Haiti on 7 February. He has been taken to another country for his safety.

Macaire had just returned to Haiti after visiting the Dominican Republic when the bus he was travelling on was intercepted by the gang. He was taken to an abandoned house on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

On 17 February, after ten days in captivity, Macaire made a hole in the ceiling of the room where he had been locked in and escaped.

Macaire endured the ordeal during which he was given food only four times in ten days, and very little water. “God really intervened,” commented Fausto Cruz Rosa, his church overseer, “because to feel that strength, that courage, that secureness, bravery is required to escape and come out unharmed.”

Five days after Macaire’s kidnapping, on Sunday 12 February, three worshippers were abducted by an armed gang after attending church in Port-au-Prince.

Haiti has the worst global record for kidnapping, with more than 1,200 abductions reported in 2022.

In December 2021, after much intercession (see Prayer Focus Update, December 2021), 12 Christian missionaries from the US-based Christian Aid Ministries abducted by an armed gang in Haiti also escaped from their captors.

Praise God for Macaire’s deliverance from captivity. Pray that he will be restored fully and able to resume his work for the Lord in His timing. Intercede for those still held captive, that they will be released unharmed. Pray that they will experience security in His presence and revelation of His perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18).



Kenya – Extended drought conditions after successive rainy seasons fail

Drought conditions in northern Kenya call for urgent prayer. Five rainy seasons in a row have failed. Kenyan Christians are praying that the March-May 2023 rains will be good and restore the dried-up land.

In the drought-affected northern region, schools no longer have enough water or supplies to provide pupils with a daily meal of maize and beans. As a result children are dropping out of school and are helping their parents to forage for what little food they can find. The situation is so bad in some villages that people are dying.

Many cattle have also perished in the drought, which has led to a rise in thefts of the surviving cattle. Christians are praying for rain to restore the land. They hope that February’s rains in South Africa, which caused flooding in parts of that country, will move north to end the successive seasons of drought in Kenya.

Join our Kenyan brothers and sisters in praying for rain for those afflicted by drought. Cry out to the Lord to cause the land to bear fruit once again (James 5:17-18). Pray for an abundance of wisdom for the country’s leaders at this difficult time.

Top – Aid for Christian community in South Sudan

Through our programme we are sending a container of aid to Christians in South Sudan, part of the Horn of Africa region in which more than 20 million people are at risk of starvation owing to worsening drought.

The consignment contains 11 pallets packed with rice, salt, flour, chickpeas and lentils.

Pray for the safe arrival and onward distribution of this much-needed aid, and for the sustenance and encouragement of the Christian community in South Sudan.